How To Memorize Numbers With The Major Method


In this episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast, we’re going to talk about how to memorize numbers. More specifically, we’re going to talk about memorizing numbers using the Major Method. And even more specifically than that, we’re going to talk about doing this in a way that will get the numbers you memorize into long term memory.

But if you want to jump over to how to apply the Major Method to music mnemonics, that’s cool too. Just make sure you know how to memorize numbers with letters, as discussed in my Get Good at Remembering Numbers playlist on YouTube:

With that covers, here’s more information, inspired by a very nice letter I received from a young high school student who takes Advanced Placement courses.

As you can read in his letter, he is a very advanced young man indeed!

Dear Anthony,

I’m proud to report the success of my first memory palace! I’ve been reading your newsletters daily since summer back in June and I haven’t been able to take your Masterclass lessons or fully read any of your books yet, since being a high school student in a magnet program, taking college level classes, I don’t have any time to get a job to make a little money, so my only money comes from my birthday and Chanukah in December. I have though read previews of many of them, and in December, I plan on trying to take the Udemy course or buy the medical terminology book you wrote. I’ve been reading your newsletters daily and each day I find myself wanting to use the Magnetic Memory Method more and more, but frankly, I’ve never gotten around to experimenting with it yet because of school work and studying for tests.

Also, I’ve been a little apprehensive of using the Magnetic Memory Method before taking any of your courses because I don’t want to make a flawed Memory Palace. I was able to check in on a small portion of the live streaming you did awhile back for free, and took some notes. Couple months go by, I’ve been continuing to read your newsletters, emailing you ideas about using the music in Memory Palaces and using the same memory palace but with different conditions, but still haven’t created my own Memory Palace.

Last Friday, on the hour bus ride to school, I listen to your podcast, Hindi Alphabet Memory Palace Secrets, and on the way back home I listen to a majority of your podcast, How to Memorize 50 Spanish Provinces On Your First Go, and they get me excited thinking of the possibilities of the Magnetic Memory Method. The weekend goes by working on school work and essays I had due today, and this afternoon on the bus, I searched around for a way just to test out the Memory Palace. I just wanted to try it and use it successfully, I wanted the short term success, he was talking about that he had on his first memory palace, even if it was minuscule compared to the 50 provinces he remembered. I took a list of ten items and wanted to memorize them: fish, margarine, a chess set, milk, light bulbs, a football, a ladder, a clock, measuring tape, and a dog bowl. My “journey” was short and simple and went like this:

I get on the bus and my bus driver has a chef hat on sitting in the drivers seat with a black steel cooking pan containing a grilled fish, he then smiles at me and throws a thin square of margarine butter on the finish and it sizzles, I then say good morning and turn to walk to my seat when I notice the back half of the bus has been turned into a limo like setup with a huge chess table like lounge, with sophomores sitting around it playing chest, one invites me over after taking a sip of milk from a glass and accidentally spilling it on herself, she laughs and invites me over, all the sudden the bus turns dark, and rainbow light bulbs light up my way to the lounge around the chess table, just as I sit down comfortably, a shout of victory comes out from another student as he wins, and out of the roof of the bus a disco football comes out of the ceiling, and it then flies out onto a ladder laying built into the back of the bus window, and jumps each set of the ladder leading up towards a clock, when hits the clock it buzzes like a hockey buzzer, and two measuring tapes shoot out across the bus from the roof, and out from the ceiling of the bus bowls of dog food plop randomly landing on the strong measuring tapes holding them up.

I created this journey little over two hours ago on the bus, and I was thrilled to have recalled the list perfectly, in increasing time intervals, started the timer on my iPad 5 minutes, recalled the journey, 15 minutes later, recalled the journey, 30 minutes recalled the journey, now a hour later and I was able to recall the journey and the list. It did take me awhile to create the short journey and for only memorizing ten random items does make the success feel a little minuscule but I know once I’m able to take or read one of your products in about three months time, I’ll learn how to apply this method to bigger feats like learning Spanish. I also want to learn how to apply it to memorizing more than just what one word is this, or memorizing a list of items, but how to memorize content like this for my AP US History class:

Back during the period of the second president of the United States, John Adams, signed the Jay’s Treaty with Britain giving them exclusive trading rights with the States in return for their promise not to impress our seamen into their navy. This resulted in France getting angry and attacking American merchant ships. John Adams sent three ambassadors to France to negotiate a peace treaty ending up becoming the XYZ affair resulting in France wanting bribes to be able to start negotiations. Instead of declaring war against the French, John Adams takes Washington’s advice given in his farewell address, and takes a passive indirect approach causing many American colonists to criticize him. To quell the criticism Adams passes the Alien and Sedition Acts, which resulted in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, resulting in the idea that the States created the federal government through a compact and they could nullify any federal laws if it broke that compact.

I was wondering if it was possible in some way to use a Memory Palace and take a journey to memorize content like this… How would you use the senses and imagination of imagery to associate to such content?

Also, I don’t know if you already have something like this, but maybe you could do a YouTube video or a podcast, or make a short PDF, just giving interested people a small concise summary of the magnetic memory method and a short example of something to memorize, like a ten item list, without giving your premium content away, to show people the effectiveness of the magnetic memory method. Give them a small sample of the power behind it and then entice them to buy your premium content to be able to apply the method to incredible feats. Just witnessing the power of the small journey I created was incredible.

In conclusion, I’m excited this December to be able to take the method to the next step, until then I’m going to try to experiment a little and make tiny journeys for practice stakes, just to get in the hang of it. I’m starting to introduce one of my friends to the method too and so far, being the brainiac he is for philosophers, like Newton and so forth, he liked the historical context of the Magnetic Memory Method.

Here’s My Written Response

Hi there,

It’s great to hear that you’re using these techniques!

You can definitely use a Memory Palace to memorize this historical story. All you need to do is apply the same techniques you’ve used to memorize the list you’re talking about to this material.

The first thing you need to do is create a Memory Palace.

Next, start with the first piece of information you want to memorize.

But here’s a tip:

Don’t say “back during the period.” This is not proper form. Figure out the dates used by historians and memorize them.

Be specific. Teachers tear their hair out when students write things like “back during the period” or “several hundred years ago.”

Demonstrate that you know something through specificity. Use the same tools you used to memorize that list to memorize the date. It’s really easy and fun and important.

Plus, I’ve dedicated this episode of the podcast just to you, so …

Have a listen, share the post with everyone who needs it and let me know if you have any more questions.

And keep experimenting. It’s the best way to gain traction and keep moving forward.

If you’d like more information on using the Major Method to memorize numbers in combination with a Memory Palace or method of loci and other mnemonic techniques, please study my treatise on the topic.

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